Jamie Oliver’s Middle Eastern Beef Tagine

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 2, 2013

Print This Post Print This Post Jamie Oliver's Beef Tagine on Shockingly Delicious

When the spirit is willing but the finances are weak, food and recipes can stand in for travel to foreign lands.

The middle east has long been on my bucket list, but it isn’t in the cards in the near future, so I will have to cook my way through chef Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes(Oct. 2013; Hyperion; $35) to satisfy my wanderlust.

In it, he curates the “big hitters” from the countries he has visited, as well as his own creations that come from cues and influences around him.

So I can fill up on Spain with the Best Chorizo and Tomato Salad in the World, slightly sweet Olive Oil Biscuits (Tortas de Aceite) and brilliantly magenta Tinto de Verano Sorbet (cheap red wine and lemon flavors).

Risotto Bianco and variations on Shockingly DeliciousFrom Italy he brings us Risotto Bianco and three suggested variations (“master the mother recipe, then use your common sense, feel the power and create your own take on it,”) a properly rustic Venetian Fish Stew and of course, Best Tiramisu to serve 12 (or 4 at my household 😈 ).

He teases Swedish Meatballs, a Swedish Chicken Caesar Salad, Arctic Char in parchment paper parcels and Sexy Swedish Buns out of his trip to Sweden. For the record, those buns sport cardamom and blueberries.

M'Hanncha with Date Sauce on Shockingly DeliciousI got moored in the section on Morocco, with Grilled Sardines, hand-held street fare like Ratatouille-Style Briouats, Kefta (Lovely Meatballs) and oh the tagines – Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon, and then Beef. I could not avert my eyes from the M’Hanncha with Date Sauce – a coiled snake-like pastry with fluffy almond filling, the bowls of olives in the markets, the one-pot Lamb Tangia cooked in the city’s communal oven…

Photo page from Jamie Oliver's cookbook on Shockingly DeliciousHe stops in Greece and France, too, but my bookmarks are all in Morocco. The smells seem to emanate from the pages, the sights – the book is photo-heavy, with local ingredients, finished dishes and a plethora of amazing travel pictures – invite dreaming. This is a book to savor, both for its power to drive your imagination, and to stimulate your appetites.

Our Sunday Supper cooks, this week under the guiding hand of Amanda from MarocMama,  are taking a virtual trip to the Middle East today. To the potluck table I bring Oliver’s Moroccan Beef Tagine.

Let’s make it, shall we? And dream.

Recipe: Beef Tagine

Summary: Jamie Oliver calls this Moroccan Beef Tagine “a stew with attitude” — it’s all about the spices and slow cooking, with a rich and wonderful flavor.


  • 1 ½ pounds stewing beef
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • A small bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable stock, preferably organic
  • 1 small squash (about 1 ½ pounds), seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 ½ ounces prunes, pitted and roughly torn
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

For the spice rub

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika


  1. Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight. That way the spices really penetrate and flavor the meat.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole-type pan and fry the meat over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion and cilantro stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in half of the stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½ hours.
  3. At this point add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a gentle stir, then pop the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks too dry.
  4. Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt. Scatter the cilantro leaves over the tagine along with the toasted almonds, then take it straight to the table with a big bowl of lightly seasoned couscous and dive in.
  5. Serves 4-6.

Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes_Cover ArtSource

Recipe reprinted with permission from “From Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes,” by Jamie Oliver (copyright Jamie Oliver, 2010, 2011; published by Hyperion; all rights reserved. Photo reprinted with permission from “From Jamie Oliver Food Escapes,” by Jamie Oliver (copyright Jamie Oliver, 2010, 2011; photo copyright David Loftus, 2010, 2011; published by Hyperion; all rights reserved. Disclosure: Hyperion sent a copy of the book for review.

Sunday Supper

See this page for all the wonderful #SundaySupper dishes I have made since I joined this group, and links to all the other delicious dishes made by my fellow cooks.

Preparation time: 3-24 hours (marinating)
Cooking time: 3.5 hours
Diet tags: High protein, Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4-6
Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern

Sunday Supper badgeThis week our #SundaySupper blogger crew is all about the Middle East. Check out the variety of things we have cooked up for you! Try this Beef Tagine or find something else from the menu below that floats your boat:

Mezze {Appetizers}

Salata {Salads and Sides}


Halwa {Desserts}

Join us around the family table for #SundaySupper 

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